LDNReview

Yada’s review image
8.5

Yada's

££££

115a Rye Lne, London
Earn 3X Points

The last time we visited Yada’s it was a midweek lunchtime. It wasn’t our first meal of the day, nor second, nor even our third. But let’s put our highly professional (and somewhat beastly) consumption to the side for now. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that stomachs bulged, belts loosened, Rennies chewed, conversation entirely abandoned… we couldn’t help but eat more. The falafel was too fluffy and herbaceous to resist, the chicken so tender it would’ve been disrespectful to turn it down. Our heads said no, but our stomachs said yes. That’s how good Peckham’s much-loved Kurdish restaurant is.

After making its name in a lively little arch opposite the station, Yada’s now has an unassuming space on Rye Lane. There are a dozen or so tables big and small and a BYOB policy that’s happily embraced every night of the week alongside fruity lamb kebabs and mezze platters with dips and salads galore. These are things you’ll learn to love about Yada’s, but they aren’t the things that’ll have you swooning immediately. That prize belongs to their shawarmas. Glorious towers of meat, wonders of both sight and smell, they stand tall and proud in the semi-open kitchen, glistening and turning, always tempting. If you’re looking for something quick and delicious in Peckham Rye, then this £7 shawarma sandwich could well be it.

Yada’s review image

Nonetheless, sitting in is where you get the best of Yada’s: the convivial atmosphere, the bottles on the table, the still-warm hajari bread. If you’re looking to get a broad range of the flavours of Kurdistan, then the mixed meat and vegetable platters are the way to go. You’ll get a load of soft lamb in fragrant pomegranate and walnut stews, piles of rice and stuffed vegetables, pistachio hummus, crispy chunks of chicken shawarma. Every dish is fresh and aromatic, deep in flavour but also delicate, generous in all the ways only the most homely of cooking can be. In fact, this feels like Yada’s remit. To treat every customer like an all skin and bones member of the family who needs feeding up.

Outside of the greediest orders on the menu, Yada’s choice of vegetarian and vegan dishes for around £11 or less makes it a neighbourhood restaurant that caters for everyone. Some people might find it a bit too casual for a big family get-together or date night, but we’d wager that once the smell of shawarma wafts over you’ll care much less about whether they’ve got exfoliating hand wash or candles-lit facilities. Oh, and don’t worry about finishing everything—because Yada’s is almost as good from the fridge the next day.

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Food Rundown

Yada’s review image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Falafel Beauty

The falafel is crunchy and light, full of yellowness and a smattering of herbs, while the pistachio hummus and dalooja, a red pepper and pomegranate dip, combines sweetness and spice. Loaded up onto a pinch of soft hajari bread or with a spoonful of bean salad it makes for a faultless mouthful.

Yada’s review image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Mixed Meat Platter

This platter has got it all. There’s lamb and chicken, the moist and juicy bits and, importantly, the crispy outside bits. Joja kebab and lamb shifta—one more meatball-like and the other a burger patty—both full of aromatic spicing, nuts and served with rice and ghorma sabzi. This is the kind of food that’s head-bowed delicious, that has one of your hands always armed with bread. Finally there’s chicken qozi, off-the-bone meat that glistens with honey and lemon and sits alongside potatoes that have absorbed all the fats and flavours to evolve into an entirely new kind of brick-like carbohydrate.

Yada’s review image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Mixed Vegetarian Platter

A comforting medley of falafel, stews, and vegetables, both the tapasi, a tomato stew with aubergine, courgettes and butter beans, and the razziana, a spiced asparagus stew with fennel and tomato, will have you mopping up the plate. Only the kifta birwesh, a semolina dumpling stuffed with soy mince that sits in a beetroot stew, is a slight watery dud on this plate.

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